In J1 we aim to provide an attractive, safe and stimulating environment where exploration and interactive activities are encouraged. Within the Early Years children learn through play in a relaxed and friendly environment which helps to develop a positive attitude to learning.
The children follow the Northern Ireland Curriculum at the Foundation Stage and a topic-based approach is implemented, covering areas such as Communication, Mathematics and Numeracy, ICT, Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities, The Senses, Motor Skills and Personal and Social Skills.
The majority of the children's learning is provided through a range of well-planned challenging play experiences. This reflects an understanding that young children learn best through interactive, practical, multisensory, fun experiences. Each child also has Language and Literacy and Mathematics and Numeracy skills reinforced during 1:1 work.
A topic-based approach is continually developed within all areas of play which can be accessed at any time but is particularly reinforced during structured activity based learning. The children are encouraged to engage in play through exploration and use of water, sand, messy substances, imaginary areas, small world toys, play dough, construction materials and in our reading and writing areas as well as table top activities and on the computer. We cover topics such as 'Getting to know ourselves', 'Shops', 'Winter animals', 'In the garden' and other seasonal topics and festivities.
A priority within the J1 class is to encourage independence and develop basic skills for living. J1 staff work in collaboration with therapists to assess the children and agree individual education plans for each child. These are reviewed and updated on a regular basis. This year, we are also working alongside J2 class, which has the same age-range of pupils.
We love to sing and play in J1 class but particularly enjoy engaging in group work related to the Plasma screen. Great fun and interaction is also experienced in our soft play area, multi-sensory room and on the play trail.
Trips to the Donkey Sanctuary have been the highlight of all our educational outings. Each child has gained confidence riding and directing their donkey as well as enjoying and engaging in the other play activities that are on site. They have thoroughly embraced this new experience. We also like to broaden our outlook by way of educational trips that relate to our topics and learning. These outings develop our experience of the environment in which we live and how we interact within it.